Rumblings and Grumblings Around Red Sox Nation

Yesterday the Red Sox officially named John Farrell the clubs 45th manager in team history, and the club’s third in as many years. In his press conference on Tuesday he emphasized a desire to “hit the ground running”, start forming healthy relationships with players and gaining their trust.  Farrell has supposedly already reached out to many Red Sox players, including some current free agents such as Cody Ross and David Ortiz. He talked with Jon Lester about mechanical flaws he noticed from afar and the chemistry between Farrell and the Red Sox front office already looks notably more comfortable than his predecessor’s ever did. As for expectations, Farrell stated that there’s an opportunity for a quick turnaround and to get back into the playoffs as soon as next year.
You can catch the whole press conference here.
The hiring of Farrell is the biggest news in Red Sox Nation, but a few other stories are worth noting.
On the free agent front:
  • The Red Sox and David Ortiz are closing in on a two-year deal that they look to finalize by Friday, according to ESPN sources. The deal is expected to be in the ballpark of $25 million, a price that Ortiz has long believed to have been seeking. However, conflicting reports surfaced yesterday suggesting that the deal being in “near-agreement” is a bit premature. Either way, all parties involved admit that there is mutual desire to work out a deal and that both are eager to get something done.
  • Ian Browne of reports that the club is continuing to negotiate a deal with Cody Ross of whom they are “confident they will retain.”
More team news:
  • On Tuesday, general manager Ben Cherington said that the team feels confident that Jose Iglesias is major league ready, however, he didn’t express complete support and said that there will be an open competition for the spot during the spring. The internal options are pretty weak with Pedro Ciriaco seemingly being the only other internal option that could put up a fight.
  • David Carpenter, who was acquired in the Farrell deal, was reportedly not going to make the 40-man roster in Toronto. It certainly seems possible that Carpenter faces a similar fate in Boston.
  • Farrell mentioned John Lackey in his press conference, highlighting the impact he needs to have on the rotation next year. Lackey will be ready for Spring training, and Farrell hopes that he, Lester and Buchholz can regain form and pitch like the top-of-the-rotation players he feels they still can be.

The coaching front:

  • The Red Sox hired Torey Lovulloto be the team’s bench coach. Lovullo was the first base coach for the Blue Jays the past two seasons under Farrell. He has familiarity with the organization, as his job prior to working with the Blue Jays was managing the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2010. Luvollo was a candidate for the Red Sox managerial and the bench coach positions last year but ultimately lost out to Bobby Valentine and Tim Bogar respectively. Bogar has be given the opportunity to stay with the club, and recently turned down filling the same role for the Houston Astros.

    John Farrell Returns to Boston to manage the Red Sox

  • As for first base and third base coaches Alex Ochoa and Jerry Royster, Ben Cherington stated that they are treating the positions as if they are open but without shutting the door on the current coaches. Cherington said that he wants to give Farrell the freedom to do what he feels is needed to be most successful. Farrell, has been talking with the remaining coaching staff.
  • The same goes for pitching coach, Randy Niemann. He could ultimately be asked to stay on with the team, but some feel that Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur, who has a strong relationship with most of the current Red Sox pitchers, might be favored by Farrell.
  • And just in case any of you have been living under a rock, it may be worth noting that now-former Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan accepted a job with the Rangers filling the same role, leaving a vacancy at the position. Neither Farrell nor Cherington mentioned potential replacements.

And lastly, a little gossip (which hopefully we’ll see a lot less of now that Bobby is gone):

  • In what probably caught most people by surprise, former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine seemed to throw David Ortiz under the bus last night during an interview with Bob Costas on NBC Sports Network’s “Costas Tonight.” I say it is surprising because Ortiz was one of the few Red Sox players that stood up for Valentine at times last year and there weren’t many signs that their relationship was ever significantly strained. Valentine said that Ortiz’s injury that lead to a 5 week trip to the DL in July and August was something that the team felt would only take a week to heal, insinuating that he took more time to heal than he needed. The day Ortiz returned, which so happened to be the same day the Red Sox/Dodgers blockbuster occurred, Ortiz re-injured himself running the bases. Valentine stated that Ortiz decided on his own volition — not because of injury — to stop playing after the trade went down because he felt the team was a sinking ship, and that ultimately, he quit on the team.
  • In addition to the surprising comments on Ortiz, Valentine went on to say that he still is shocked and upset at how poorly the team responded when he suggested that Kevin Youkilis was not emotionally invested in the team. He went on to deny various allegations against him, including a story of how he said “nice inning, kid” after Will Middlebrooks returned to the clubhouse after a two error inning. Valentine said that he was relieved to be let go, and had seen the “writing on the wall” by early September. He did have nice words for Larry Lucchino, John Henry and Tom Werner, and that he was unhappy that the three of them suffered last season. He ultimately went on to say that injuries were the main reason the season never took off and that in the end, the team’s 69-93 record was his own responsibility.
  • And lastly, Red Sox Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk was found unconscious behind the wheel of his motor vehicle on Monday in New Lenox, Ill., and charged with DUI. The car whas found in a field around 7:20 on Monday. Fisk was transported to a local hospital and was formally charged with a lane violation, driving under the influence and illegal transportation of alcohol. Fisk posted bond and was released, and is due in court on Novemeber 29th. 

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